I’ve been natural for three years and it’s been a journey. And a not-so-easy one too, there are many things I wish I had known before embarking on this journey but it took a lot of learning and re-learning to get me this far. There are lots of content on the internet that will leave you misinformed especially when you’re new to the natural hair game. So here is my personal gift to you, a simple beginners’ guide to going natural.
Simple is the way to go
If you were looking for a long post about some complicated natural hair routine or natural hair regimen, then you’ve come to the wrong place. In fact from past experience, I can say that doing the most with your hair only impedes your hair health and growth. The simplest regimens are the best. My last-born sibling is just 5 and her hair is longer than mine (and she’s cut it twice). So we have both been natural for roughly the same number of years. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from her hair it’s that the simpler the better. All we do is moisturize and protect her hair and I started applying the same method to my hair too.
Step 1: Moisturize
Natural hair needs moisture, especially in our harsh weather. Dry hair is the number one cause of hair breakage, so you might think your hair is not growing but in reality it’s breaking faster than you can retain the length. The most popular technique for keeping your hair moisturized is the LOC method also known as LCO method. The L in LOC stands for liquid. Your hair needs water, water is life; so your liquid can either be water or a water-based product. You first spray water over your entire hair. Next is O, which stands for Oil; the oil is a sealant that keeps the water sealed into your hair strand, you can use coconut, olive oil or any other oil of your choice. While the final C stands for Cream; the cream helps to close the hair cuticle and keep both oil and water sealed in. You can use a leave-in conditioner for your cream, shea butter or any moisturizing natural hair cream.
Step 2: Protect
The next step is to do protective styles. The key to letting your hair grow is keeping it protected, you can leave out your afro once in a while but over-exposure to sun and harmattan really is not good for the hair. There are numerous protective natural hair styles to choose from; bantu knots, twists, finger coils, flat twists, thread and our usual African styles like all-back, etc. If you like variety, I’ll suggest doing all-back and rocking wigs, but don’t forget to keep your hair moisturized. For hair growth, low manipulation is key, instead of changing hairstyles every day or week, you can try one protective style every month, do this regularly while keeping your hair moisturized and I promise you, your hair will grow. Unfortunately, I love manipulating my hair a lot and I don’t mind the length because it’s not a competition, I just like to style my hair in different beautiful ways, you can say I’m obsessed. My point is, if you’re worried about length, keep manipulation minimal.
Natural Hair Beginners Kit
There are some things you’d need for this journey, let’s just call it a starter kit.
- Satin pillowcase or bonnet – The usual cotton pillowcases are bad news for your hair and even skin. Satin silk reduces friction so using it will reduce friction, keep your hair neat and minimize tangles. It is also great for your facial skin because unlike abrasive material like cotton, wool, etc, satin doesn’t draw in moisture from your skin, it simply glides instead of pulling on your skin thereby reducing wrinkles and acne. Keep in mind that you should wash your pillowcase every few days or at least once a week to remove natural oils from your face/hair and product residue as this can clog your skin pores.
- Leave-in conditioner
- Deep conditioner
- Spray bottle
- Moisturizing Cream
- Wide-tooth comb
- Edge control and small brush – To get those sleek edges
- Satin/silk scarf – To lay down those sleek edges, can also be used in place of bonnet or pillowcase
- Hair clips, pins and accessories
If you have any more questions, leave a comment and I’ll answer them for you. If you’re a long-time naturalista and you have other simple regimen to add to this list, leave a comment too!